Law Review: Trump worst president in US history


Historians debate who were the worst U.S. Presidents. Perennial favorites are James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce.

There is no need to continue the debate. We have a clear winner: Donald J. Trump is the worst President in U.S. history – no others even come close.

The other Presidents on the bottom of the worst ladder made it because they were either incompetent or corrupt. Trump is both and then some.


Trump with his limited 8th grade vocabulary specializes in superlatives. The first. The best. The most. The greatest. Now we can add the worst.

You can be upset about the American system of government and frustrated with politicians, but those are not reasons to support, admire or even tolerate Trump. His character is fatally flawed.

No other President has been impeached twice. He dodged conviction for a second impeachment only because Republican Senators claimed it was unconstitutional to impeach a President who was no longer in office, ignoring that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell strategically postponed the impeachment trial until after Jan. 20. That Mitch McConnell is clever indeed. Even Moscow Mitch described Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection as follows: “Donald Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”


It is beyond this column to list all the reasons Trump is deserving, but certainly at the top of my list is the way he handled, or failed to handle, the COVID-19 pandemic. While he admitted on tape that he understood early on its potential to devastate the country, for selfish reasons he continued to tell us the crisis was “handled.” He did not listen to his own experts, failed to implement 28 out of 30 recommended World Health Organization guidelines, refused to wear a mask and applauded others for refusing, while he held in-person rallies that sickened and, in some cases killed, attendees. The United States has 4.4% of the world’s population yet has 25% of COVID-19 deaths. It is acknowledged Trump never had a COVID-19 plan – ever.

Trump appealed to America’s ugliest impulses, stirring divisiveness: Black v. white, minorities and immigrants (us v. them). He prided himself in bullying others. He never admits fault or accepts blame. Never. Trump is a denier of climate change, the biggest challenge facing the planet.

As his niece, a trained psychologist, wrote, the former President is a narcissistic sociopath. Antisocial behavior and lack of conscience. Many in the medical field agree. Trump is a misogynist, even paying women for their silence with over thirty accusers with documented transgressions.

Trump courted dictators like Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and don’t forget Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. He is the first President to alienate our allies and subordinate national-security interests to his political interests. He stood idly by denying Russia interfered in the 2016 election –tipping the outcome in his favor.

Trump lied his way through the presidency with over thirty thousand documented lies or misleading statements – clearly a pathological liar. A man without a moral compass or conscience – yet with many followers who are somehow addicted … or afraid to challenge him due to his well-documented vindictiveness.

Trump campaigned he would “drain the swamp” but as many have written, he filled the swamp. Dozens of his appointees were forced to resign amid charges of corruption, conflict of interest or incompetence. He surrounded himself with sycophants.

While Trump did not start the racial divide in this country, he encouraged and celebrated white nationalists, gave them a forum, and brought out the worst in people – dividing our country, which I view as his worst legacy. Trump openly used race to transform portions of the Republican Party into an agitated, cult-like, white supremacist minority movement. Trump supported disenfranchising minorities, encouraging corrupt gerrymandering.

Trump should have been impeached for calling the Secretary of State in Georgia during an hour-long conversation: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.” i.e. change the vote count. Corruption for which he yet may be charged.


It is hard to pick the worst Trumpism, but it is probably that he is the chief instigator of the attempted insurrection of Jan. 6. As we have learned through the impeachment process, Trump selected the venue for the Jan. 6 “rally” next to the Capitol, selected the date when Congress would be counting ballots certifying the election and texted dozens of times to “stop the steal,” urging his staunch supporters to “fight like hell,” and “take back this country.” Having lit the match, he retreated to the White House where he watched the insurrection on live TV “quite pleased.” But that is not all, for several hours he refused to call off his attackers despite his advisors pleading for him to do so. He never called out the National Guard or Metropolitan Police. Even if one were reluctant to find that Trump instigated the attack despite all the evidence to the contrary, his failure to call off the attack clearly shows his sinister intent. His people were trying to stop the vote count which “had been stolen.” Now uniformly called “the Big Lie.”

Trump’s celebratory tweet on Jan. 7 “to my special patriots” shows his empathy for the attack: “Remember this day forever!” How do you spell impeach?


Trump put self above country for four years and will continue to do so as long as people believe, as most Republicans shockingly do, that he won the election “by a landslide.” Trump and his allies lost almost 100 court cases (including by the U.S. Supreme Court) challenging the election results. He lost the election, he refuses to acknowledge he is a loser. Sociopath.

As noted historian Douglas Brinkley wrote about Trump: “He will be remembered for leaving the country worse off than he found it. He’ll be down there at the very bottom of the rankings hanging out with James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce.”

Yes, it is time to move on but Trump should never be forgiven for what he has done to our country and its now ever-so-divided citizens.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User